Charlie Whiting, aged 66, has passed away as the result of a pulmonary embolism, the FIA statement says.
"It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing. I have known Charlie Whiting for many years and he has been a great Race Director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport. Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie. All my thoughts, those of the FIA and entire motor sport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula One lovers," FIA President Jean Todt said.
The tragedy happened just three days before the Australian Grand Prix which will open the F1 season, the FIA statement reads.
Charlie Whiting started his F1 career in 1977. In 1988 Charlie joined the Federation and since then "has been an integral part of the organisation of the FIA Formula One World Championship." He became Race Director in 1997.